Careers in Music: Elaina Martin, Music Producer & Founder of Westfest

By Erica Howes


This blog series features women+ in different careers in the music industry, from centre stage to behind the scenes and everywhere in between. Is there a career in music you’re interested in learning more about? Contact us with your ideas! 

Elaina Martin and the making of an inclusive music festival

Elaina headshot 2016.png

Elaina Martin is the founder and producer of Westfest, a free music festival happening this year on June 7-9, 2019.

When Elaina talks about the festival, it’s always “we.” She lists off the many partners the festival has had throughout the years and in its 16 year evolution how it’s many of the same volunteers coming back, making it a neat reunion of committed friends. She describes Westfest as a “labour of love.”

I talked with Elaina about building the Westfest community and what it means to be a music festival producer.

What sparked the beginning of Westfest?

I moved to Ottawa from Sudbury in 2003 and didn’t have a lot of money. I realized there were a lot of barriers to experiencing art. I wanted to create a festival that involved everyone, breathed an inclusive, accessible community and had an all Canadian lineup. We started out in a gas station parking lot. Through the years it’s morphed into a festival taking over 14 city blocks when we partnered with the Westboro BIA, to today where we’re somewhere in the middle, at the Tom Brown Arena Park.

It’s important to have a diverse lineup so people can see people who look like them. I live in a lot of marginalized communities, and it’s a reflection of the community I live in.  

What skills are required to be a music festival producer?

A producer is responsible for the overall logistics and coordination of the festival, which involves a lot of multi-tasking! I’ve worked as a producer in theatre and television as well and it’s basically the person who pulls everything together. You need solid and direct communication skills. My favourite part of the job is giving a platform to artists who don’t yet have one. Being curious and excited about exploring new kinds of music is important in a producer role.

What advice would you give someone interested in working in the music industry?

You have the be a strong, confident person. The industry is very male-dominated and as a queer woman, I’ve certainly had to work three times as hard as some males. Get involved when you’re young, and find ways to volunteer.

If it’s your passion, do it and put everything you have into it. I knew I was attracted to music at a young age. You know what you’re attracted to. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to know music is right for you. Follow your instincts.

What can we expect from Westfest this year?

We have really cool acts this year from local musicians and from across the country. If you’re young and interested in programming - come on Friday night, it’s full of amazing young talent, like the Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G) Youth Drummers, a group of Indigenous youth from different territories, and Salmon Ella, a group of women who actually got together after a Girls+ Rock Ottawa’s Rock Camp for Women+.

On Saturday, the Brothers Wilde duo, from Kettle and Stony Point, will blow people away.

You’ll walk away feeling you’ve experienced something awesome, and got to enjoy the festival without barriers. We want people to look around and on stage see people who like them, and feel safe and belonging in this community.

Westfest is a free music festival happening June 7-9, 2019 at Tom Brown Arena Park. Visit the website for more information.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival continues its tradition of cultural appropriation

They may have added a "Diversity and Inclusion Policy”, but representation in the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival lineup goes from bad to worse.

By Tiffanie Tri | 池家倩

Last year, we called out the lack of diversity on the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival lineup. With 11 of the 18 acts (61% of the lineup) comprised entirely of men and a single Asian musician in the entire lineup, the lack of representation felt pretty egregious given that the Festival claims to be based on the ‘ancient Chinese tradition’ of dragon boat. The Festival uses this cultural angle to receive significant public funding from programs such as Canadian Heritage's Building Communities and Heritage Fund as well as from provincial and municipal governments, yet does little to honour the culture that it so happily borrows from.

We raised concerns about how this behaviour leads to the co-opting and erasure of the community and heritage it claims to be celebrating. We stated: “Given that it receives public funding to building heritage and “inclusive” community, the Festival should look for Chinese and other Asian artists to feature on their lineup.” So, did anything change?

Change...for the worse

Seeing the addition of a new “Diversity and Inclusion Policy” on the Festival website led us to hope that the Festival had improved representation in its lineup. Unfortunately, it got worse. This year, eight out of 12 acts — two-thirds of the lineup — are comprised of all men. The remaining four acts — a third of the lineup — are fronted by women. There is not a single Asian musician, much less a Chinese-centered act in the lineup.

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival organisers have shown, once again, that they are not willing to host lineups that represent their audience. Perhaps worse, they are equally as unwilling to shine the spotlight on musicians that reflect the heritage of the ethnic community that they benefit from. There is absolutely no excuse, especially given the numerous ongoing movements promoting diversity and inclusion.

‘Missing the boat’ on diversity and inclusion

It’s not just Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival. A pledge for gender parity by 2022 for music festivals has seen over 150 festivals sign on globally, 16 of which are Canadian, including Canadian Music Week, North by North East and Riverfest Elora. Not a single music festival based in Ottawa—our nation’s capital—has signed onto the pledge.

Survey findings in the official Ottawa Music Strategy revealed that only 37% of respondents (a sample of artists, industry professionals, educators and fans) consider the local music scene inclusive. This means that a majority do not feel that the music scene reflects them. At a time when the city desperately wants to develop a reputation as a ‘Music City’, we need to recognize that a vibrant and sustainable music scene will not happen unless people see themselves reflected on stage and behind the scenes - a good place to start is with our festivals.

Actions, not words

All levels of government should mandate Inclusion Targets for music festivals that they fund. Festivals that are based on a culture or heritage of minority groups should have members of this community on its boards and selection committees. This would be a starting point to address discrimination and unconscious biases in a heavily white and male-dominated industry.

Booking agencies and artist managers should ask about the diversity of a lineup when booking their artists. The industry is realizing that attaching themselves to the movement for diversity and inclusion makes sense in terms of profits and PR. However, being an ally means more than throwing a diversity and inclusion policy on a website. It will include tough decisions and conversations. It means recognizing and reconciling privilege. It might even mean stepping away from opportunities in order to make space for marginalized communities. Is the industry ready for true diversity and inclusion?

As consumers, we can speak up. We have so much power when we are intentional about the organizations that we do or don’t support. Share this post, tag Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and let them know that a culture isn’t a cute marketing ploy; it needs to be respected, contextualized and honoured. The way that Chinese culture is currently being treated by the Festival - as a punchline or an afterthought - is unacceptable.

Last year, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival could claim ignorance. This year, they no longer have that privilege. They simply don't care. And they won't unless we make them.

Careers in Music: Marilena Gaudio, Music Programmer

By Erica Howes


This blog series features women+ in different careers in the music industry, from centre stage to behind the scenes and everywhere in between. Is there a career in music you’re interested in learning more about? Contact us with your ideas! 

Marilena Gaudio is always on the lookout for musicians or bands whose sound sparks something different, with moving vocals and killer lyrics.


Her job involves managing and attending hundreds of shows and sometimes - in the case of the Folk Alliance International Conference in February - seeing a hundred artists in the span of four days. Marilena started at the University of Ottawa with an arts degree majoring in Arts Administration and was band manager of beloved local band The PepTides and programmer at the downtown club Mercury Lounge.

Now, Marilena is the Programming and Rentals Officer at the National Arts Centre (NAC) with NAC Presents, as well as a board member with Girls+ Rock Ottawa. She manages community programming, which takes place on the Fourth Stage, features many local musicians and hosts about 100 shows a year.

So what is it like to be a Programming and Rentals Officer with NAC Presents? I met up with Marilena to learn more about her role and it was quickly clear she’s a music lover passionate about her work.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the shows and discovering new artists while figuring out what their sound is. There’s so much variety in my job. In my day to day, I’m managing show logistics, updating the website, liaising with artists or managers, coordinating rentals or traveling to venues and/or showcases to see different artists. It’s a lot of advancing, which is connecting with the tour manager to sort out all the logistical details from transportation to accommodations to a rundown of the show program.

From May to September I often attend concerts and festivals because I want to make sure I’m aware of what’s coming up and what other programmers who I admire are doing. It’s never repetitive and there’s an exciting energy and adrenaline rush when shows all come together.

What do you look for in selecting shows for NAC Presents?

I look for artists with unique sound and style, strong vocals and lyrics. It’s important to go to showcases in different cities and venues to see what’s out there, what’s new and what’s exciting. In the programming world, you can’t stay in one spot and assume you’re going to know everyone or make new discoveries. When the NAC Presents programming team, which includes my colleagues Heather Gibson (Executive Producer), Xavier Forget (Associate Producer) and myself, plan out the year, we make sure to schedule a diverse collection of genres and styles of music, and acts from every stage in their artistic careers, whether they are emerging and new to the scene or seasoned musicians who have a large and dedicated following. NAC Presents features Canadian musicians. Many of our shows take place in the NAC’s ‘Fourth Stage’, an intimate space with a capacity of 150 people, which is ideal for emerging artists as they develop, well known artists who wish to offer their fans an intimate experience or artists looking to experiment with new ideas.

What’s the greatest challenge in your work?

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The long hours can be tough at times, sometimes I’m checking out shows around the city until 2 a.m. in addition to my regular day job managing logistics, answering emails, coordinating rentals.  When I graduated, it was hard to find a position in music programming and I had to work three part-time jobs to make a living and gain experience in my field. I’m very fortunate to now have been in this role with the NAC for over three years.

Certain times of year are always very busy so you train your brain to prepare for the intense rush of our busy season. It’s also a different kind of work if I’m at a show looking out for artists, and despite the long hours, it’s an exciting part of the job, and what I am passionate about.   

What advice would you give to someone interested in music programming?

Find a band that you love in Ottawa, reach out to them and ask how you can help! Many artists want to focus on their artistry and less on the business side of things, so you’d be surprised by how much they’d appreciate that help. That’s how I started out with the PepTides, I volunteered as their band manager and loved it.

The Ottawa music scene is full of music lovers, who are happy to help and although it can be intimidating, don’t be afraid to reach out to musicians or people in roles you admire and see what you can learn from them. Networking and finding a mentor goes a long way.

Is there a career in the music industry you’re interested in learning more about? We’re always on the lookout for great women+ working in music in Ottawa and want to hear from you! Contact us with your ideas.

Industry Insight: Study Finds Women Not Represented in Popular Music


DID YOU KNOW: Across the top 700 songs from 2012-2018, only 21% of artists and 12% of songwriters were women, while only 2% of tracks were produced by women? 


For this month’s #IndustryInsights, we’re sharing the kinda depressing findings of a study on gender representation in music by USC Annenburg’s Inclusion Initiative. The study found that women are not even close to being represented in popular music.


Between 2013-2019, only 10% of Grammy nominees were women. While males were the majority of nominees in each category, females were most likely to be nominated for Best New Artist, followed by Song of the Year. In the Record and Album of the Year categories, fewer than 10% of nominees were women. 

Female artists noted the barriers they face in the industry, including difficulty navigating the industry; breaking into the business; making connections and getting into different rooms. Other challenges included financial instability; having their skills discounted; and being stereotyped & sexualized.


To generate industry change, the report recommends creating environments where women are welcome; generating opportunities for women to use their skills and talents; ensuring that role models and mentorships are available to women; and for the industry to commit to considering and hiring more women - in other words, inclusion targets and inclusion riders. 


What do you think about these findings? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative for more stats about gender in the entertainment industry!

Bluesfest 2019 Lineup Shows Improvement in Gender Representation

By Girls+ Rock Ottawa

Ottawa Bluesfest revealed their 2019 lineup yesterday - so how did they do in terms of gender representation this year? We’ve crunched the numbers and found that 45% of the 2019 lineup includes acts with at least one non cis male band member. This is a major improvement from last year where only 25% of acts had at least one non cis male band member (see below for a reminder). We applaud Bluesfest for listening to the community and making a greater effort to having gender representation in their lineup. And we give a standing ovation to all the amazing local acts on the lineup!

To everyone out there advocating for a more inclusive scene: this is proof that your voice matters. Keep speaking up and pushing your local festivals, businesses and organizations to be diverse and inclusive. Let them know that #RepresentationMatters.

Our work isn’t done. As you can see, the festival headliners are still dominated by all male bands. Bands that feature women, non-binary and transgender people are lower down in the poster. In the future, we hope to see more acts with woman, non-binary or trans members as headliners.

We’re still working to dismantle the barriers that woman, non-binary, trans and queer artists face in the music industry. We know that our communities are rich with queer, trans, non-binary and women creators and we are proud to work with them to create the music scene that they see themselves in.

For more information on gender representation on festival lineups, check out Keychange EU, an organization spearheading a global movement for 50:50 gender representation on festival lineups by 2022.

Learning By Doing at Soundtech 101


On February 23, 2019, we hosted the Soundtech 101 workshop in partnership with the City of Ottawa Community Arts and Social Engagement. With women currently accounting for five percent of sound techs, the goal of this program is to increase representation in this field.


We kicked off the day by covering the basics - everything from the purpose of sound reinforcement to an overview of equipment and how to set up a Public Address (PA) system. In the afternoon, we rolled up our sleeves and set up a PA system. After that, we conducted a sound check with a full band. Participants loved how hands on and practical the workshop was!


A huge thank you to our amazing workshop facilitator Kimberly Sunstrum for creating a safe space to try out new skills and rock camp alumni band Salmon Ella for being our test subjects. A special shout out goes to the participant who drove two hours to attend the workshop!

We hope to inspire the next generation of soundtechs and this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more workshops and opportunities coming your way!



Community Arts & Social Engagement (CASE) programming places emphasis on the role of the community within the creative process. Through special projects and initiatives, course design, instruction, workshops, commissions, and partnerships, CASE aims to deliver high quality programs that respond to community needs.

MEGAPHONO and Girls+ Rock Ottawa present the first Women+ in Music Mentorship Program

By Emma Kenny and Ariane Bell Vila

Photo by Ariane Bell Vila

Photo by Ariane Bell Vila

Amidst all the music and educational events happening during MEGAPHONO 2019, we brought together a group of industry professionals, artists, and Rock Camp alumni for the first ever Women+ in Music Mentorship program! Hosted by Coworkly and the Vanier BIA, and with support from MEGAPHONO and TD, this event set out to connect Rock Camp alumni with artists performing at MEGAPHONO and industry professionals to share skills and knowledge, all accompanied by refreshing drinks from Buchipop and excellent food from Habesha Ethiopian restaurant!

After some lunch and casual networking, we kicked off the event with a get-to-know-you panel for our industry professionals, asking them to introduce themselves and describe their roles in the music industry. During this panel we also asked our mentors about their favourite things about their work, misconceptions about their jobs they’d like to clear up, and what their go-to karaoke song is (which was shockingly contentious - most panelists said they don’t like or do karaoke, but Francella did hit on a popular choice with Shania Twain). The conversation was fun and free-flowing, full of life lessons and laughter. We seized on three key takeaways to share with you, so we can all learn from these powerful pros.

1. Get involved in the music scene

Any role in the music industry requires A LOT of listening to music and attending shows, which can be hard if you’re introverted. It can also be hard to make a logical pitch for a new band to sign or book, when music is such an emotional thing.

2. Multi-tasking is crucial to your success

In our current industry climate, artists aren’t just artists: they also have a hand in marketing, booking, and crafting deals. Those who work behind the scenes are always on the go, and have to make space in their brains for new music as well as be able to answer all the many emails they receive daily.

3. Stand your ground and stay true to your values

Everything is political and sometimes, you have to fight for what you believe is right. Whether you’re a booking agent fighting for your artist to get what they deserve, or a promoter trying to get your artist on a bill, you have to be prepared to stand your ground.

After the panel, participants were split into groups of three people each: one industry professional, one artist, and one Rock Camp alumnus. They had the opportunity to chat and ask any questions they’d brought with them or had thought of during the panel. The brightly-lit space was full of focused discussion and energy, and everyone looked so engaged that it was hard to interrupt to tell them when time was up! The conversations continued as everyone collected their things and started the process of layering back up for the weather outside before heading to another MEGAPHONO show.

Rock Camp alumni Victoria who attended the event said that she learned a lot from interacting with the industry professionals and artists.

“What I learned the most from the Women+ in Music Mentorship program is that working in music, while involving direct engagement with artists or producing content, also means a lot of grunt work like answering emails and making phone calls. In the end, your love and dedication to the former will make the latter worth it.”

Overall, it was a positive and informative experience, and we’re so glad to have been able to run an event like this in the midst of a busy festival! Thank you to MEGAPHONO for partnering on this event, TD for sponsoring, and to the participating delegates and artists for sharing their insights and experiences.


Clotilde Bayle, 4AD

Natalie Davila, Polyvinyl Record Co.

Mira Silvers, FORT Studios

Silke Westera, FKP Scorpio

Francella Fiallos, CJLO

Vivian Barclay, Warner Chappell Music Canada


Annie Sama

R. Flex

Felicity DeCarle, Sparklesaurus

Eva Palmar-De Melo, Bad Waitress

Mikayla Gordon, SeiiizMikk

Marie-Claude Sarault, Marie-Clo

MEGAPHONO 2019 Artist Feature: Haley Heynderickx

By Erica Howes


Indie-folk artist Haley Heynderickx is in Ottawa this week and will play the Bronson Centre on Friday as part of MEGAPHONO 2019. We got to know Haley and asked her a few questions about her latest album, musical influences and life as a touring artist.

Haley is a singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon and said her faith and Filipino background influence much of her music.

“Growing up in a church where inklings towards mystery and spirituality were mostly fulfilled through the singing tunes together. It was a guttural relationship with the void, with community, with ideas drenched in lovely melodies,” she said.

The Filipino communities also greeted her with enthusiasm and love, but she said it was her mother’s outgoing nature that kicked her out of her shyness.

Haley’s story of getting into music may sound familiar if you come from a musical family. With a mom who blasted Mariah Carey through the ‘90s and a dad who played the Beatles on the way to school, music was a part of her childhood growing up. She picked up the guitar at age 11 and grew to become the artist she is today.

Now with an album and hundreds of shows played in the past year, Haley said one of the challenges is touring and how much time that means away from other things.

“The travels are heavy on the heart, I admit. Body too. You miss your family and loved ones and sitting in a vehicle for six hours doesn’t help too much. It’s funny how touring feels like 90 per cent commuting, 10 per cent music making.”

With performances across Canada and the United States this month, I was curious about how Haley finds the variety of music scenes.

“Each evening is very different but you never know the feeling till you walk into the room!”

With her performance at the Bronson Centre on Friday, she said she’s excited to experience Ottawa’s music scene.

I Need to Start a Garden

Haley tells an emotional story of self discovery balancing exposing and protecting herself on her debut album I Need to Start a Garden with Mama Bird Recording Co. Her voice is calm and soft-spoken yet loud and powerful, taking the listener through the journey of the album with her.

There are beautiful metaphors and images around growing a garden, and Haley weaves many of them into her melodies. She sings about tending “to your garden like heaven / hell” in her song “Jo” with the background of guitar. In “Bug Collector” she lifts the tone, singing about insects intruding in her house but instead of killing them, collects them and sets them free.

The record was released in 2018 and co-produced by Haley and engineered, mixed and co-produced by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland, Oregon.

With all this in mind, I asked Haley one last question - what advice would you give your fourteen-year-old self?

She said forget the advice.

“I’d just give her a hug and tell her it’s all going to be ok. Even if I had a wise proverb in my pocket, there’s nothing I could say that could have prepared her for this odd, ever-evolving, media-saturated world. She’d probably ask me why I’ve got these purple rings under my eyes, though.”

You can see Hayley Heynderickx live with Andy Shauf this Friday February 8 at 8 p.m. at the Bronson Centre.

MEGAPHONO 2019 Artist Feature: Annie Sama

By Emma Kenny


In advance of MEGAPHONO 2019, we were lucky enough to catch up with multidisciplinary artist and industrial electrono-pop icon Annie Sama. Sama, who splits her time between Montreal and New York, was in Los Angeles working on a video shoot, but she was kind enough to carve some time out of her busy schedule to chat music industry, the importance of time management, and staying true to yourself.

When I asked Annie what inspired her to get into music, she answered easily: “It was something just natural, it just happened. When I was a kid I was always singing songs, so it was really just a natural thing for me.” This answer set the tone for our conversation, and Sama’s self-assuredness and overall confidence are apparent in everything she does. I could easily imagine her chilling on a white leather couch in something sleek but comfortable, watching the rain pound down in LA through massive picture windows while she gets the styling for her video together (she told me they were hoping for it to break, as they were planning to shoot outside today).

Sama is a multidisciplinary artist, involved in music, dance, and fashion. I wanted to know how she juggled all those mediums: do they flow together in harmony, or is there one that takes precedence over the other? Sama’s answer was quick and to the point: “It’s just a matter of organization. Every time I’m releasing a song, I’m going to have a video clip, and sometimes I’m going to direct it or co-direct it, but I’m always very involved in the creative process.”

When it comes to fashion, Sama said “it’s a part of [her] everyday life.”

“I usually style all my video clips or I work with somebody, but I’m always very involved.”

With each single, there comes a lot of preparation, so Sama needs to be well-organized and on her game to make sure that everything she produces has her distinct stamp on it. Unless, of course, there’s a team that wants to “take her over.” Sama reflected on the cover of her most recent EP, Clear: “The team was taking me over so I just let myself flow in there...I need that sometimes.” As someone who is also pretty Type-A, I noted that it must be nice to let others take over for you sometimes when you’re juggling so many projects - Annie laughed and agreed, she needs that sometimes.

Sama is so effortlessly cool, so when I asked her about the challenges she has faced in the music industry and how she overcomes them, I didn’t know what to expect.

“I mean any challenge that you have in any industry [can be overcome] by just believing in yourself and just continuing on your idea.” She noted that one of her biggest struggles was people from different pockets of the music industry trying to tell her what to do - to be more pop, to be “something else,” criticizing and nitpicking. But Sama reminds me that there “is always a public for what you do. There is always somebody who is going to be inspired by what you do, it’s just reaching out to those people that’s the hardest.” She also emphasized the importance of working with a good team who understands your vision as an artist and knows how to reach that audience who will click with you and your work.

“Being a woman in the music industry is one thing, and being your own creative one creates in the same way, so’s not my thing...I don’t fit in every context.” That said, Sama advocates for remaining open to new ideas and new ways of working, thinking, and creating. “The combination of two worlds can always bring something forward.”

I brought up Sama’s recent rebranding, if you will - her transition from APigeon to Annie Sama. What inspired that change, and will we see something really different from her under this new moniker? “I think I just wanted to go back to basics,” Sama said, and cautioned me that this new phase in her career may not be permanent - everyone is always evolving. She describes letting APigeon “hibernate a bit” to allow herself to try a new sound and have fun. Her first album as APiegeon, she was going through a major change in her life. “When what you do is a bit darker, it can be hard to bring that on stage every night. I just wanted to have a fresh new start and show people who I really am.”

“I tried to work on myself for that [APigeon] album, and I think it really helped me to become a better person, and to heal a lot. And now, I mostly want to have fun!” She laughs, and it’s throaty and slightly self-conscious. “I think Annie Sama is the real me, in a sense, but we never know what’s going to come out.”

Sama has never played a show in Ottawa before, and is most looking forward to having her younger sister, who lives in Ottawa, come see her show for the first time. Her genuine excitement about coming to our current winter hellscape warms me, and I lamely offer to give her recommendations if she wants them. Sama receives this graciously and I like her even more.

My final question for Sama is: what advice would you give to your fourteen-year-old self?

There’s a thoughtful pause, and it’s clear that Sama is thinking deeply about this. In the end, she settles on something equal parts practical and inspirational: “Listen to myself more. Because we’re the best ones to know what’s good for us.” At the same time, don’t get too caught up in yourself, “Get out of your mind and try to reach out to others. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.” Striking that balance between believing in yourself and reaching out to others to learn and grow can be tricky, but Sama believe that it’s always worth doing, and I have to agree.

Don’t miss Annie Sama live with Cyber and November, Friday February 8 at LIVE on Elgin, 7:00 PM.

10 shows you don't want to miss at MEGAPHONO 2019

By Emma Kenny


MEGAPHONO is back to give Ottawa a showcase of some the best indie and emerging artists around! We’re very excited about the amazing and diverse artists that will be in town. There’s something for everyone at MEGAPHONO 2019, so put on your parka and get ready to navigate the slush puddles, because this fest is worth ending your hibernation for.

Here are 10 MEGAPHONO performances featuring artists you won’t want to miss.

The Sorority

There are no words to describe the power, the prowess, and the bad-assery of The Sorority. Comprised of pHoenix Pagliacci, Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis and Havia Mighty, the group has all the flavour and flow of old school hip hop with a completely fresh way to centre femininity and solidarity. With a hometown pride for Toronto that puts Drake to shame and an impressive roster of festivals under their belt, this is a show you cannot miss.

9:30PM, February 8 at the 27 Club. $20 at the door.

Haviah Mighty

Not only performing with The Sorority, Haviah Mighty will also be gracing us with a solo show at MEGAPHONO 2019 and we couldn’t be more excited. This Toronto singer, rapper, producer, and DJ is championing a message of empowerment for women with her fiercely powerful delivery and lyric sincerity. Her 2017 EP, Flower City, was named one of Complex’s Favourite Canadian Releases of 2017, and her reputation for intense live performances as seen her open for greats like A Tribe Called Red and Snoop Dogg. Get one quarter of The Sorority at 100%. We’re not sure exactly how that math works out, but who cares? You definitely don’t want to miss this show.

9:30PM, February 7 at Triple 7. $12 at the door.


SATE’s powerful vocals and blues/rock/punk style will straight up melt your face. I don’t make the rules, I’m just here to deliver the warning. Her signature live performance style has been seen all over the world, from Afropunk Brooklyn to the Paleo Festival in Switzerland, and it’s equal parts empowering, exhilarating, and enraging. Get ready to have a fire lit under you by SATE’s dynamic sound, with all the relentless and driving features of hard rock and punk informed by the spirituality of SATE’s practice of tarot, numerology, and astrology.

9:00PM, February 7 at Le Minotaure. $12 at the door.

Luna Li

Float through the air on the ethereal waves created by Toronto garage rock goddess Luna Li and her women-centric four-piece band. With a vocal range and tonal quality that varies from bedroom pop crooning to rock n’ roll grit, Luna Li has a universal appeal while maintaining a sound that’s all her own. Drawing on years of classical piano and violin training, Luna Li plays with genre by incorporating looped violin and dreamily distorted guitar into her tracks. Her brand new single, Silver Into Rain, was released in June with an accompanying music video to widespread excitement. Get ready for a show unlike any other.

2:30PM, February 8 at Shanghai Restaurant. All ages & pay what you can! (BONUS: You’ll get to see Rock Camp for Women+ alumni band Salmon Ella in the same show!)

Bad Waitress

If you want to get loud with a band intentionally formed to center women’s voices, then you’re gonna love Bad Waitress. Vocalist/guitarist Kali-Ann Butala moved to Toronto five years ago with the goal of playing music with more women, and Bad Waitress was born. The group has a loud-and-fast-and-wild style of bratty punk that just doesn’t quit, full of chanted vocals and crashing drums that’s guaranteed to make you want to hit something.

See the MEGAPHONO website for show details.


The coolest crooner around, Cyber (also known as Leodie Domond) is blessing Ottawa with her sweet as honey, smooth as silk vocals again this year. If you missed her at DIY Spring last year, don’t make the same mistake at MEGAPHONO 2019. Cyber already has an international career in gospel and is now making a name for herself in Montreal’s underground scene with her hypnotic R&B sound. Don’t miss this spiritual set.

7:00PM, February 8 at LIVE on Elgin. All ages, $10 at the door.

Haley Heynedrickx

With vocals alternating between haunting and overpowering and accompanied by deft guitar picking, Haley Heynedrickx tells an emotional story of self discovery on her debut album I Need to Start a Garden. With a sound that’s reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and a vulnerability that evokes Mitski, Haley invites listeners to an introspective account of what it means to be a human being. Come out and get introspective in a crowded room.

See the MEGAPHONO website for show details.

Melissa Laveaux

Let the sweetest, summeriest vibes of Melissa Laveaux carry you away on a wave of music unlike anything else you’ll hear all year. Fascinated and inspired by the cultural heritage of Haiti, Melissa uses music to honour the history and struggles of Haiti and its people while looking towards a future of limitless possibility and joy. It’s all right there in her music, with its rhythm, technicality, warmth, confidence, and carefully placed distortion. Once called a “lesbian miracle” on French national radio, you’ll definitely want to bask in her presence.

See the MEGAPHONO website for show details.

Camille Delean

There’s something at once classic and refreshing about the music of Montreal singer-songwriter Camille Delean. With a voice so rich in tone and precise in pitch, Camille transports listeners with her a sound that feels deeply Canadian, despite her ten track album having been partly recorded in England. The result is meandering songs with beautifully layered instrumentals and a lush tone, evoking big open sky over fields of wildflowers. Close your eyes and go there.

See the MEGAPHONO website for show details.

Annie Sama

Last but certainly not least, take in the melodic noise of multi-disciplinary artist Annie Sama. Sometimes ambient, sometimes harsh, but always original, Annie incorporates elements of multiple genres to explode the concept of pop music and create a musical world all her own. Reminiscent of Sneaks and in conversation with Grimes, we can’t wait to hear Annie’s new EP, due in September. In the meantime, catch her live this MEGAPHONO and revel in this strange soundscape.

7:00PM, February 8 at LIVE on Elgin. All ages, $10 at the door.